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Ancient Warfare: Chronicles of Lucius II  -by Paul Bruffell


Unit Stacking

The day after Lucius had met the new recruits in the training camp, his superior (Primus Centurion) had ordered Lucius to undertake a table top exercise on ‘Room for Manouevre’.

Lucius had spent 5 years yelling commands in training camps or on the battlefield and the explanation he had to give to the new Centurions of the Legion was second nature to him, none the less, he hated being the focus of attention.

The sun was just breaking over the ridge in the distance as Lucius pulled back the tent flap and walked up to the large wicker table and the assembled Centurions. The Primus nodded his acknowledgement and Lucius began –

"When you take your men in to battle you need to know the principle of “Room for manoeuvre”. To move one unit through another requires you to check the concentration of troops ahead of you."

The first we will consider is charging your Legionaries through the covering Light Infantry ahead of you.’

‘If you give a command to pass our Heavy Infantry through a screen of Light Infantry you need to know -

1 – A maximum of 80 Light Infantry (LI) can fit in to one clear hex on their own and this is equivalent to 100% stacking.

2 – A maximum of 400 Heavy Infantry (HI) can fit in to one clear hex on their own and this is equivalent to 100% stacking.

3 – At some point during the Events Phase the HI will attempt to move on to the hex occupied by the LI. If the combined stacking would exceed 100% then the HI will not move through.’

Lucius scanned his audience and saw nothing but blank or puzzled faces. The Primus was smiling at Lucius’ discomfort but Lucius ignored him and pushed on –

OK, let’s look at an example –

"I have a double strength century of 120 HI under my command and ahead of my men are a group of javelin men (40 of them)."

"We know our Legionaries amount to 120/400 % (30%) stacking and the LI equivalent to 40/80 % (50%). The sum of these two is 80%. So we know our Legionaries can charge through successfully."

"If our century had belonged to a cohort unit of 240 men strong then the HI charge would have been halted by our own Light troops and the enemy would not have been reached."

"‘This is why it is essential to know the amount of room you need on the battlefield to avoid chaos. Even a disciplined army can collapse in to chaos if the Centurion gives the wrong commands."

Lucius saw the first signs of understanding in their faces.

"OK. Let’s look at this situation the other way. Let’s say the LI screen wants to retire through your ranks of Legionaries. Again, you have 120 HI. How many LI can get through your ranks?"

Didomer signalled he had the answer and Lucius nodded for him to speak.

"A maximum of 56 LI if our Legionaries are in clear terrain." The beam on his face showed the confidence he expressed in his answer.

"Correct" Lucius replied. "Didomer’s 56 comes from 56/80 = 70% which when added to the 30% of the HI reaches the maximum limit on any one hex at any one time of 100%."

The Primus walked out of the tent, satisfied the lesson was going well and moved to quench his thirst from a nearby flask.

One of the new Centurions raised a question –

"But, what about non-Clear (Close) terrain?"

"You can only achieve a maximum of 50% on the hex at any one time." Replied Lucius.

"And what about Interpenetration?’"came a voice from the rear of the tent. Lucius turned and looked in to the sullen eyes of his Tribune Scipio. Before Lucius could speak, Scipio clapped him on the shoulder and said to the rest "– I think that is for another time. Centurions, dismissed !"

Scipio turned to Lucius and began to whisper –

‘I need to talk to you about the forth-coming battle. ….’

 


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